Turkey will ask US officials in talks Tuesday to hand over its military bases in Syria to Ankara or destroy them, the Hurriyet newspaper said.
US National Security Adviser John Bolton was meeting with his Turkish counterpart Ibrahim Kalin Tuesday, days after Bolton added a condition to the US withdrawal, saying Turkey must agree to protect the United States’ Kurdish ally, the YPG militia, which Ankara views as a terrorist group.
President Donald Trump said last month he was bringing home the some US 2,000 troops in Syria, asserting they had succeeded in their mission to defeat Daesh (ISIL or ISIS).
“Give them or destroy them,” a Hurriyet newspaper headline said, referring to what it said were 22 US military bases in Syria, according to Reuters.
It cited unspecified sources as saying Turkey would not accept Washington handing them over to the YPG.
A senior Turkish security official said last week Washington needed to allow Turkey to use its bases in Syria.
With tensions simmering over Trump’s Syria strategy, it was unclear if Bolton would meet with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Also in Bolton’s delegation were US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford and US special Syria envoy James Jeffrey.
Kalin is Erdogan’s spokesman and deputy head of Turkey’s security and foreign policies board.